Covers Willmar and area high schools and Ridgewater College, plus amateur baseball, stock car racing and fitness events in summer. Writes weekly column since 1980. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children.
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The three area stock car tracks -- at Willmar on Thursday, Montevideo on Friday and Madison, now moving to Saturday -- belong to the Wissota sanctioning organization which touches on six states and two Canadian provinces. Experienced drivers will race these and other regional tracks two and even three evenings per week throughout the summer. The Grove Creek Raceway offers drag racing every other weekend. As one of only a few such facilities in the Upper Midwest, it pulls souped-up cars, roadsters, trucks, motorcycles, bikes and even snowmobiles from Minnesota and surrounding states.
On a Saturday morning in early October, 2009, a shotgun went off when a duck hunter stumbled in the field. Up ahead a few yards, the blast hit Brady Damhof in his back left shoulder and upper arm. His bone and muscle full of shot, a medevac helicopter landed and carried the 13-year-old from the field near Svea to North Memorial Medical Center on the northwest edge of Minneapolis in Robbinsdale. Devastating mishaps are life-changing events. But through eight operations, seven months of physical therapy, heartache, pain and bouts of gloom Brady persevered.
WILLMAR -- What would the Willmar/Litchfield Boys Golf Invitational be without weather? Just another standardized test of club control and course management! But throw in rain and cold and a little wind and it's also an exam on character and wardrobe. Eagle Creek Golf Club was not a fun place to be Saturday morning.
The nation's hottest and freshest sports property this spring is a young man called Bubba. His father, a Green Beret during Vietnam, nicknamed his little boy after Bubba Smith, the All-America end at Michigan State University in the mid-1960s. The boy's given name is Gerry Lester. Bubba Watson pasted his name into our collective scrapbook with a mind-bending golf shot on the second playoff hole of the Masters Tournament.
Here's the idea -- build tennis for young and old in the Lakes area. Get kids and adults off the couch and swinging. The Willmar Lakes Area Tennis Association formed this year to promote, support and grow tennis in the city and the surrounding area. New London-Spicer tennis coach Chad Schmeising and the Cardinals' boys varsity coach Jim Anderson are on the eight person board of directors. Jim Andresen is president. Anderson told me that funds are needed to repair the courts at both the senior high and the junior high.
The Minnesota State High School League website lists the best of 100 years of state basketball tournaments. The lists have been compiled with the assistance of a committee of basketball historians and experts from around Minnesota. Here some Tribune Area mentions, dominated by 1981 Hengstler-Ranweiler award winner Barry Wohler. Boys Top Game -- Bird Island-Lake Lillian 78, Lake of the Woods 74 (2 OT), 1980 Class A Championship: Barry Wohler made an 18-footer with 23 seconds left in regulation to force the first overtime.
By Rand Middleton email@example.com MINNEAPOLIS -- In the 100th year of the school-boy tournament, one team was perfect. From start to finish, only this team went unconquered. The fans from three small towns that combine to form the Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa schools celebrated that fact at the Target Center with their Jaguars early Saturday afternoon. Their team had somehow managed to overcome a lineup that was much their equal. No. 1 BBE had topped No.
MINNEAPOLIS -- His teammates were wondering ... is Zach ever going to make a move? With the ball tucked under his arm like a bag of textbooks, Zach Kinny acted like he was in no hurry to get to class. At the last moment, he dribbled toward the key, pulled up at the free-throw stripe and buried the game-winning shot with a second to spare. Before Perham could get a timeout, the horn sounded, signaling Litchfield was headed to today's Class AA championship game with a painstaking 33-31 win over the No.
MINNEAPOLIS -- The ice packs came out after Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa defeated Mountain Lake/Butterfield-Odin 56-36 in the first of two Class A semifinals at the Target Center on Friday afternoon. "On second thought, I guess I will have one," said Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa senior forward Kirby Montbriand after he scored 10 points in the Jaguars emphatic 56-36 victory over MLBO in the Class A semifinals. "Yeah, I hit the floor a couple of times," said Montbriand, who scored 10 points to help lead the Jaguars to Saturday's Class A championship game for the second straight year.
Beginning in 1966, the Edina Hornets put together consecutive seasons of 26-0, 27-0 and 26-1. There was a 69-game win streak in there, still the state record. Willmar took its shot at the Edina dynasty on March 16, 1968, at Williams Arena in Minneapolis. It was the Region V final.